…And the funny thing is I realized it when I bought the soundtrack from a non-Disney classc, An American Tail. For those born after 1995, you probably have no memory of what I like to call the final days of children’s movie blockbusters. In plain English: Hugely popular movies geared towards younger audiences that became smash hits by fans of all ages.
I consider myself lucky to have grown up when movies like Aladdin, Home Alone, Hook and The Lion King premiered. For TOO LONG, there hasn’t really been a kid-centric movie since the late 90s that would easily have folks talking about it 20 years later. Then Frozen came on to the scene two years ago.
Let’s take a look at the hit song, Let It Go:
Not ashamed to say I bought two copies of Frozen’s soundtrack and have listened to this song over 400 times. Now, you millenials are new to the runaway hit phenomenon that is this song. It also asks the question of which is more popular: The song or the movie?
Disney did this almost every year during the 1990s starting with 1991’s The Little Mermaid. Here’s the hit song from that movie that I know parents are not ashamed to sing acapella in the family car/minivan, Under The Sea:
Samuel E. Wright voiced Sebastian, Triton’s majordomo and royal composer. Wright himself is an experienced musician. After the movie’s release, he recorded some kids’ sing-alongs. Here’s one of them:
…He’s got range to say the least! According to an interview with him, Disney approached him to offer him the role. He’s still in the business though obviously, the royalties from his work with Disney ALONE will ensure he’s set for life!
Moving on to Aladdin next. I’ll skip over Beauty & The Beast though the track Gaston (who, by the way is the movie’s bad guy BECAUSE he’s awesome in every way) has been enjoying renewed popularity due to cosplayers. That movie’s hit song Beauty & The Beast, like Aladdin’s hit song A Whole New World has two versions: The movie version and a single post-production version. Here’s the movie version:
We’ll look at three more songs before we stop. I’ll pause for a moment to remind folks the legendary Robin Williams had been tapped for this movie, contributing my personal favorite Prince Ali as well as the smash hit Never Had a Friend Like Me to the film. Disney established its dominance with this film. It was a powerhouse as a movie maker.
Then 1995’s The Lion King changed the game: Three years after its release, Disney was forced to change the movie’s rating from G to PG. The reason: Mufasa’s death scene and the aftermath involving Simba and Scar. That was pretty dark for Disney as they’d never done anything like that up until this movie. The other reason they changed the rating were the high-profile school shootings in America at the time (Columbine happened in 1997). The movie has a number of memorable songs but it’s the opening number that draws you in:
The Lion King was the highest-selling film in studio history until Frozen was released. It nuked all expectations when it was released. The Broadway Adaptation, which launched in 2005 for the movie’s 10-year anneversary has toured all over the world. Here’s the opening number:
Before I forget, the moment where Rafiki raises Simba atop Pride Rock is an homage to Alex Haley’s Roots. Here is the famous scene:
Oh and yes a woman is cast as Rafiki in the Broadway version. No biggie. Johnathan Taylor Thomas voiced young Simba while the legendary James Earl Jones (aka Darth Vader) voiced Mufasa. Moving on, we’re looking at another big budget film that had its teaser included in the original VHS release of The Lion King: Pocahontas.
Like The Lion King before it, Disney did its homework to be as accurate and respectful as possible to the descendants of the Native American tribe featured in the movie. I mean in terms of how they were depicted in the film and its sequel. In the movie’s teasier, Disney did something it hasn’t done since and gave audiences the movie’s lead song almost a year ahead of the movie’s theatrical release, Colors of the Wind:
…By the way, I didn’t miss an interesting message portrayed in the movie: The arrival of the Englishmen and Jamestown’s settlement heralded the beginning of the end of Native American life as they knew it. I don’t think this underlying message was intentionally put in but that message was pretty obvious. It’s more overtly done in James Cameron’s Avatar. The call to protect the unspoiled parts of our world is raised as well. America looked very different from how it does now 100 years ago.
Anyway, I say it’s about time the Disney and knew and loved as a kid made a comeback. The generation before mine has fond memories of The Sound of Music. The current generation now has Frozen. It was a movie that came in at just the right time. The musical numbers carried the movies. Thanks to Frozen, it looks like Disney is going back to its roots ^_^
Honestly, I’m sick of folks who come up with every excuse they can think of to pirate music. The one that I hear the most is “I refuse to give <insert record label or artist here> a cent of my money” but they turn around and grab a pirated copy of the song from the internet.
Believe it or not, Piracy really is NOT a victimless crime. That said, I can be transparent and say I do use overseas mirror sites to download music I can’t find legally. Specifically songs from Anime and video games. Aside from those areas I buy all the music I have.
if you want to know how Piracy effects the artists who make the music, just ask some in your neck of the woods. They’ll tell you. Some are so bothered by the very idea someone will pirate their songs they refuse to sell their music digitally. Others take it a step further and won’t even sell their music in stores to force folks who want their music to either track them down or see them at a show.
A new Michael Jackson album was released worldwide today on iTunes. Unlike 2009’s Michael, XSCAPE’s Deluxe Album includes the remixed versions and the original versions on the same album. I’ll speak more on the subject on MJ’s unreleased music going public next month on the anniversary of his death but unlike Michael, no one doubts MJ did the vocals in XSCAPE. By the way I loved the 2009 album Michael. I blame the haters claiming to be MJ fans not giving it a chance for tarnishing it.
I’ll give a review of the new album sometime Wednesday (tomorrow) on Facebook and Amazon.
Before I even get started and present the evidence, let me say this: There is a clear difference between paying homage to another artist and profiting off their lyrics.
That said, I give you Exhibit A. You will hear the source artist first and Jay-Z second:
This is the one I have with Cam’ron narrating the track:
And here’s Exhibit B only you will hear Jay-Z first and the source artist second this time:
The funny thing: In 2006, Jay-Z went public with his interest in coming out of retirement as a recording artist. Two years earlier, DJ Felli Fel did the presentation you see in the first video after several listeners noticed familiar lines in many of the songs Jay-Z is known for–What’s My Name (if that title sounds familiar, this was the song that introduced the world to Snoop Dogg in 1994), Hard Knock Life (This song was famously featured on 20/20 in 1998 to coincide with the anniversary of the movie Annie. Jay-Z remixed the song from the movie in his version of the song) and 99 Problems to name a few. The song played on Hot 107 and was heard by everyone with a radio in New York City.
In 2008, Cam’ron used it to target Jay-Z once he announced his comeback tour. The obvious career-ending and embarassing evidence has been largely unanswered by Jay-Z to this day though like many other established artists he has no shortage of enemies. It’s interesting to note everyone whose songs he took lyrics from in the second video don’t even like him and neither did Tupac according to Cam’ron. Everyone and their brother’s borrowed lyrics from The Notorious B.I.G. and that’s one thing.
It’s another to take lyrics from several dozen songs and almost a dozen artists over a 20-year career, become famous over, give no credit and claim your songs are 100% original. This is exactly what he did. I have family members who’ve done work in the music industry in the past and I played the above song (the one with Cam’ron’s commentary) for them. They all told me it would’ve been one thing if he only did it a couple times on B-tracks or at the very least gave the original artist/writer a mention but he does neither.
I have friends and family in Brooklyn and the laundry list of Regular Joes Jay-Z basically used during his climb to fame and return to international stardom can probably circle the planet a few times. Surprisingly, if someone in Brooklyn tells you they personally know Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, they’re probably telling the truth. Even though at one time he was referred to as one of The Notorious B.I.G.’s chosen successors as the King of New York alongside Nas, he himself is guilty of turning his back on the people who had his back when he was an unknown. This is why he was targeted by 50 Cent and later Cam’ron and The Diplomats.
A big Asterisk should be put next to his name for every reward and honor he’s ever won.
He’s a fraud and it’s obvious he’s an attention whore. When I first heard the track above I lost all respect for him as an artist. I’ve also noticed in his more recent live tours he avoids doing the songs with lyrics he took from others. Either that or he’ll remix the song in his live shows to exclude the stolen lyrics. This tells me he’s aware people know he ripped off alot of folks.
To the Jay-Z fans in the crowd, what say you? Can you honestly tell me you support a guy who build a multimillion-dollar empire on a foundation of lies? I couldn’t.
As much as folks like to bash Michael Jackson, at least he did it all himself. He didn’t need help from someone else. Speaking of which, it’s also intreresting to note everyone who’s ever done a cover or spoof of one of MJ’s songs got his permission before they did it as a show of respect. Jay-Z doesn’t have any respect for anyone from what the evidence says.